Brunswick team to represent state in Dixie Debs Softball World Series

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

The Brunswick West Dixie Debs advanced to the Dixie Debs Softball World Series by defeating West Stanly 4-2 July 7 at Cape Fear Optimist Park in Wilmington. They are going to the World Series for the second straight year.

Heather Carter pitched all seven innings and allowed two hits as her curveball and fastball were both working. She walked three and had five key strikeouts for the victory.

The West Debs scored their first run in the top of the fourth. Sheniqua Harrison, the starting shortstop, doubled. Emily Gore, the all-star third baseman, moved Harrison to third. Things did not look good for West Stanly, who had a shutout going, but Anna Hart was the batter. Hart, the all-star catcher, did not disappoint fans as she quickly doubled and Harrison crossed the plate for the Debs’ first run.

Down 2-1 in the top half of the sixth inning, the Debs scored three runs. The Debs’ second baseman, Stacy Jackson, was hit by a pitch. Jackson has the power to knock it over the fence, and if you walk her, she will steal second base. Everyone in the ballpark knew she was going to steal, and she did. The West Stanly catcher made a good throw, the only problem was the throw hit Jackson, who quickly took off for third—and, of course, she was safe.

With one out, Lucia Bowling, the Debs’ center fielder and a teammate of Jackson on the West Brunswick High School softball team, was the batter. She flied out to center, but Jackson scored, tying the game 2-2.

Harrison, another speedster, singled and went to third on a wild pitch. She was definitely making the Stanly team nervous with her speed.

Gore walked, and not to be outdone by her teammates, acknowledged the steal sign from coach Jeff Carter and stole second.

After another wild pitch, Harrison scored, and that put the Debs ahead 3-2.

Hart delivered an insurance run with her single, scoring Gore for a 4-2 lead.

The pitching and defense shut down Stanly for the final six outs and the championship.

The Debs’ first game will be against South Carolina at noon Aug. 1 at Bobby Richardson Park in Sumter, S.C. Richardson was the second baseman for the New York Yankees during the Mantle-Maris years. He also coached baseball at Liberty, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina.

If Brunswick wins, it will play either Louisiana or Alabama at 1 p.m. Aug. 2. If Brunswick loses its first game, it will play either of those teams at 9 a.m. Aug. 2.

The Debs will get in some practice by playing July 25-26 in a Myrtle Beach ASA tournament.

Each year, players interested in playing for the Debs can do so through an open sign-up by the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Department. The teams are divided up, play one another and at the end of the year an all-star team is selected.

Carter has been coaching softball for 13 years, and he said the all-star selection this year was difficult.

“It was tough this year to pick 12 girls for the team,” he said. “We had 16 good players, and it was not an easy task.”

Carter is assisted by coaches Reggie Evenson and coach Al Ward. All three believe they have a team that can compete with the teams in the World Series.

“We have a strong team,” Carter said. “Alexis Johnson and Kelsi Bailey will patrol left field, and Kelsi will also pitch for us. Lucia Bowling and Courtney Clewis will play center and right, and they are excellent fielders and have strong arms.

“Emily Gore plays third base and Sheniqua Harrison is our shortstop when she is not pitching. Heather Carter is pitching when she is not playing shortstop. Stacy Jackson covers second base. She is our most solid defensive player. Paige Ward covers first. Anna Hart is the catcher. The strong bench is represented by Valerie Jones and Kayanna Causey.

“All during the season, the girls have been talking about going to the World Series and winning it all, we think we have the best team to compete in South Carolina.”